Student Engagement Ambassador, Kitan, highlights the importance of supporting Black owned businesses and suggests some businesses to support in Reading.

What are Black owned businesses?

Before delving into the brief history of Black owned businesses, we should first underpin what exactly are they. The history of black people’s successes usually revolves around overcoming racial prejudice which is great. But black people are yet to be recognised for their other accomplishes such as business and entrepreneurial ones.

Black owned businesses refers to the organisations that are managed and owned by those from a black background.

The origins of Black owned businesses

What started of as small businesses catering to the needs of black individuals grew into something monumental. In America before and after the abolishment of slavery, black people were segregated from their white counter parts hence were not able to shop at the same places. Shops that were available to black people did not cater the supplies needed for them.

As a result, in the segregated predominantly black areas it was difficult to find work or essentials that were needed so a rise in black owned businesses began to take place. Entrepreneurship was an alternative for making money whilst it served the values and needs for the black people.

We can see black owned business nowadays across the world and in our very own Reading. This blog will explore the importance of supporting black owned businesses and recommend the best ones in Reading.

Why support black owned businesses?

There are multiple reasons in supporting black owned businesses but here I’ll highlight the most integral.

It closes the racial wealth gap: The racial wealth gap refers to the vast difference in wealth held by households of different ethnicities. Statistics shows the median household holds range between £34,000 to £314,000 (from black to white.)  These numbers reflect ingrained systematic racism, job and home ownership opportunities which are advantageous to white people. In supporting black owned businesses, their companies will become more profitable which they can capitalize from. This will as a result narrow the gap.

It celebrates black culture and serves the community: Black owned businesses bring a sense of pride as it portrays the strong values and culture of black community. It also brings access to supplies that black people may need which is not sold at regular everyday shops. The support means black people will feel acknowledged and can rely on a place to go to that they know will serve their values and customs.

It is a form of representation: There are not many black owned entrepreneurs represented today so by supporting it brings more recognition to it. It also encourages to youth to step up and participate in representing their community. Representation demonstrates to the mainstream market that more inclusive products are the way to go.

Black owned businesses in Reading

805 Restaurant (No 2 Cholsey House Moulsford Mews, Reading, RG30 1AP): It opened in 2001 on Old Kent Road, with 20 other branches that are located around England. This Nigerian restaurant also caters for West African food with its central dish being Jollof rice. The meals range from plantain, eba, amala, yam, grounded dried shrimp, Ewa Agoyin, pounded yam and many more. The rich traditional food can be enjoyed by everyone with its burst of flavours. To some it is a just an everyday home cooked meal but its always great to expand and ponder onto new cultures and appreciate them if these dishes are unfamiliar to you.

Freddie’s Afro Caribbean convenience store (Northumberland Avenue): This Ghanian owned corner shop enriches the black culture with its products and services. Many Afro-Caribbean students have found this shop useful as some traditional products are not found in mainstream shops. The products range from meat, fish, garri moi moi, spices such as scotch bonnets, black and white pepper, snacks such as plantain chips, chin chin and many more.

Student hair businesses (campus): Many university students have adopted the entrepreneurial approach by installing and making hair. They can be found all over campus and make both male and female hair.

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